Marketing 2.0: 6 tips for marketing
- Sales and Advertising Tracking: It always amazes clients when we suggest that their ad expense and sales income curves should be almost identical. Here’s the truth: You can’t sell snow shovels in the summer, so why advertise them? Promote heavily when the market is poised to buy. “So,” my client would ask, “we should advertise in December when we will see good sales anyway and not use that money in June to boost sagging sales?” The short answer is yes. In the months that customers are already motivated to spend, you spend to get more than your share. Half the battle is over — customers are motivated and moving. You just have to get them to your place. In June you can’t move them with dynamite, so why spend and discount prices to get them? You’re losing on both sides.
- What Will it Take to Get to the Next Level? This is a tough question to answer for most businesses, because the answer is not always something they want to hear. The answer might be internal restructuring, a location change or another equally distasteful change. But if the answer is “reaching more customers,” try doing what one client did. He projected the sales he hoped for and budgeted a percentage of the expected revenue. Since his goal was 25 percent more than the previous year, his budget was higher. But he also reached more prospects, so he hedged his bet. This is called anticipatory spending — done right, it will pay for itself.
- Take Stock of the Brand: What do people think of your brand? You think you know, but what if you really did know, from your customers’ perspective? One way to accomplish this anonymously is to conduct a survey. Online surveys are so easy to do now with sites like Survey Monkey. They practically write themselves. Don’t know what to ask? Find a marketing group to help that has experience in wording surveys and can analyze the data for you. If you do it yourself, ask questions like: (1) Which of the following brands do you think of first when looking for (product you sell), and then list half a dozen brands, including yourself, for the respondent to choose from. (2) What store comes to mind when you read this slogan/tag line? List several stores or leave it as fill in the blank. (3) How many times in the past year have you shopped at (name of store)?
We completed a survey for a discontinued brand of products to see what the likelihood was that it might have a second life. Amazingly, it was well received, enough that the client bought the brand name and will launch it late in 2017. Surveys can really make a difference.
- Walk Around. Management by walking around is not a new concept. Planning a new year by walking around is just as easy. Listen to employees. Talk to customers. Ask questions: “What can we do better? What is keeping you from being more productive?” Assume nothing. Dig deeper into the answers you receive and take notes. You might uncover a gem, and the cost is zero. When we found that the admin person was spending two hours a day following up on sales tasks we empowered the seven salespeople to do it themselves. When there were two salespeople it was OK, but with seven, it clearly needed a new way.
- Take a Break. One of my earliest clients ran a retail operation that escalated into six stores in three states very rapidly. I asked him how he kept up with it all. “Every two months I take a four-day weekend,” he said. “It takes one full day to relax and then I have the other three to consider my issues, normally under a palm tree with an adult beverage in my hand.” He continued, “My best ideas come when I am rested and not umbilically tied to the business or the phone.” While it might seem like an excuse to vacation to some, this guy made millions by taking breaks.
- Write Down the Goals. It is proven that the act of writing goals down on paper reinforces the will to get them done. Besides, it gives you something to refer back to in 2018.
Here are hopes for a fantastic 2017. There has never been a better time or place to be alive. Do yourself a favor – engage a great marketing firm.